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Chairman Williams, Rep. Van Duyne Write to GEC to Further Investigation into Government Censorship

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Roger Williams (R-TX), Chairman of the House Committee on Small Business, along with Congresswoman Beth Van Duyne (R-TX), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations, and Regulations, wrote to the Global Engagement Center (GEC) to further the Committee’s investigation into government censorship.

This letter builds on the House Committee on Small Business’ investigation into the Department of State’s Global Engagement Center surrounding government censorship and revenue interference of American small businesses by proxy.

Read the full letter here.

Read excerpts from the letter below:

“The Committee on Small Business, Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations, and Regulations (Committee) writes to further its investigation into government censorship and revenue interference of American small businesses by proxy. It is clear that the Global Engagement Center (GEC) funded third parties who discredit certain small businesses (and their owners) based on their political speech and viewpoints. These third parties pressure advertising and social media companies to remove certain businesses’ online advertisements, disallow ad placement on businesses’ websites, remove online speech, and ban accounts entirely. The federal government cannot circumvent constitutional protections by using private actors to accomplish what the State itself is prohibited from doing.

“Tis investigation stemmed in part from report of federal funding of companies such as the Global Disinformation Index (GDI), which published a blacklist of news organizations that painted certain conservative-leaning media companies as “risky” and therefore unreliable, discouraging advertising deals, and ultimately interfering with their ability to compete. Two such media companies, The Daily Wire and The Federalist, are parties to State of Texas et al. v. U.S. Dept. of State et al., a federal lawsuit recently filed on this precise issue, with you and the GEC as named defendants. The GEC has funded a myriad of companies that label beliefs running afoul of the radical left’s agenda as ‘disinformation.’ Despite your recent claim that ‘[w]e are not in the business of deciding what is true or not true’, the third parties receiving GEC funds focus overwhelmingly on ‘right-wing misinformation’ rather than misinformation across the political spectrum. It is clear the Biden Administration considers itself the arbiter of truth.

“Upon review of the GEC’s initial production to the Committee, the Committee has become gravely concerned about the government’s extensive, increased funding of entities deeply engaged in surveillance and censorship of Americans. The GEC’s Congressional mandate states that ‘[n]one of the funds authorized to be appropriated or otherwise made available …. shall be used for purposes other than countering foreign propaganda and misinformation’ (emphasis added). The GEC maintains that they do not take action against American citizens or their businesses. You were recently quoted to say ‘[w]hat we do not do is examine or analyze the U.S. information space.’ However, as revealed by investigative journalism such as the Twitter Files, the GEC has sent lists of ‘foreign’ disinformation accounts to social media companies calling for their removal that, in fact, contained American profiles. While the GEC’s production to the Committee assigned a primary country for each award’s objective, evidence gives reason to believe that these awards may not have been used solely for foreign purposes.

“The work performed by the entities the GEC is funding is cause for concern. For example, Moonshot CVE—a GEC award recipient for FY 2018 and FY 2022—self-reports monitoring online activity in the United States, engaging with tech companies to ‘blacklist’ and report content, and has even monitored the search history of service members and reported their geolocation. The Atlantic Council of the United States, Inc. (Atlantic Council), a think tank that runs the Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab), received GEC awards in at least FY 2021 and FY 2023, in addition to a slew of other federal funding. DFRLab was a main partner for Stanford’s ‘Election Integrity Partnership’ and the ‘Virality Project’, which have come under a great deal of scrutiny over their mass surveillance and censorship activities in their attempt to accomplish what ‘the government could not do themselves.’ As revealed in Twitter Files reporting, DFRLab also has a history of sending lists of accounts to Twitter calling for their removal, labeling them foreign disinformation actors, when the list in fact contained accounts of Americans.

“Albany Associates International, LTD (Albany Associates) received GEC funding in Fiscal Years 2018, 2019, 2022, and 2023. Albany Associates has produced research categorizing beliefs of Americans, including sitting U.S. congressmen, as ‘disinformation’ and insists that ‘partnerships between government, academia, and tech at a national and local level’ are required to combat said ‘disinformation.’ Another award recipient, the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), claims that it fights disinformation by ‘collaborating with governments, legislatures, civil society, the media, technology platforms, academia, business, and the creative sector.’

“Throughout the course of this investigation, the Committee has developed additional concerns over whether the GEC maintains proper oversight over the selection and actions of subawardees/subgrantees. This Committee aims to ensure the GEC is not only aware of where taxpayer dollars are going, but that the GEC is screening and overseeing the work delegated by their award recipients.

“Further, the GEC’s initial production to the Committee appears to be incomplete. The Committee requested an ‘unredacted list of all GEC grant recipients and associated award numbers from FY 2019 – present’ (emphasis added). It appears there has been complete omission of dozens of awards from the GEC’s production. Given some of these awards are publicly viewable on, it is the Committee’s belief that these awards exist and were omitted without explanation and in violation of the Committee’s request. In addition, the GEC produced only cooperative agreements and failed to include any project grants, despite specific phrasing used by the Committee in its production request.

“The GEC award recipients revealed in its partial production have caused enough concern that the Committee is requesting more detailed information to understand the reality and scope of what these companies are using taxpayer dollars for. The GEC’s initial production was provided to the Committee over five months after the requested due date of June 21, 2023. The result was a five-page spreadsheet; there is no reason the GEC would need one month per page of production. The Committee needs all relevant documents to ensure all American small businesses are able to compete online without interference from the federal government.”


Signatories include Chairman Roger Williams (R-TX), and Rep. Beth Van Duyne (R-TX).